Another NaNo win

I mentioned back on November 18th that I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo this month with the follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, The Serial Dieter’s Shopping List, with Donna and the helm this time. It’s lovely being back with her, Izzy, William and Duncan.

Set a year later, we start at Northampton but Donna’s then seconded to the sister paper at Hemel Hempstead and stays with her mum in Tring (both Hertfordshire) so we meet a new set of characters dipping back to Northampton at the weekends.

I’ve cracked the NaNoWriMo 50,000 minimum with 52,795, although the widget counter is a tad more generous at 53,088, not sure why but I’m not complaining.

If you’d like to read my writing and be willing to give me feedback on it – being as brutal as you like but constructively please(!), do take a look at my shout out for …Beta Readers.

Another productive week

Hello everyone. In the past I’ve talked very little about what I do but given that I’m now taking my writing more seriously, I thought I’d share my news with you. Yay. 🙂

I’ve started NaNoWriMo (for the umpteenth time) this month with the follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List*, The Serial Dieter’s Shopping List, with Izzy’s sidekick, Donna, at the helm, and set in Hemel Hempstead and Tring (Hertfordshire) rather than Northampton, although Izzy, Hunky Dunky and other characters will make an re-appearance in this one.

By the way, if you’ve read this first novel, I’d be really grateful if you left a review on Amazon, Goodreads and / or wherever you purchased it. Thank you! Reviews can be make or… er, ticking along for authors.

I’m also writing a couple of standalone psychological thrillers, and another women’s novel, so will be cracking on with those, and hopefully the mix will keep my word count respectable. As of day 2, I’m a bit behind but am planning on catching up over the weekend.

If you’d like to be a Beta Reader for any of these, please sign up. Again, you will have my heartfelt gratitude… and a mention in the relevant acknowledgements.

My latest little (150-word) ditty called ‘Feeding Time’ (see below) has been longlisted on and you can vote for it (if you like it) – click until you get to ‘6 more’. If you like it – I hope you do – please click on ‘Vote’. Voting closes midnight 13th/14th November. Thank you!

Speaking of flash fiction, the new rounds of my 100-word comp and BeaconLit’s 500-word competition are open.

I’m on schedule with my client Editing and Critique: one novel sent back yesterday (a day early) and three more booked in, taking me up to 7th December.

On a more personal level, but still writing related, I’ve had two new bookings in: Carlsberg Christmas Fair (mid December) and a talk to Barclaycard Pensioners Club (next July). Woo hoo! Oh, and I’ve got the date for my 15-minute audition with Bedfordshire Women’s Institute for next February. They’ll all be here before we know it.

I’ve updated my Morgen With An ‘E’ page with all these events and more: judging the Flash 500 short story competition (February), a local W.I. panel, and a talk about podcasting at Troubador Self-publishing Conference (both April) BeaconLit Literary Festival (workshops and panels) and a talk to Barclaycard Pensioners Club (both July).

So, all in all, it’s keeping me out of mischief… if only! 🙂

Why readers are so important

What is a writer… or more appropriately, a published author without readers? Not nothing, because we can still write for pleasure, but most of us put work out there to be read, not to make lots of money… although that would be nice.

I’m prompted to write this following a wonderful email I received today:

“Is there a follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List? It just ended too fast. I spent all this time getting thru izzys adventures and it was just like you, said okay i reached my word quota gotta STOP now.”

I loved it. My book is just over 100,000 words so no mean feat getting to the end too fast. Some, especially those on didn’t get that far, which makes me really sad as an author.

So if you’ve read a book you’ve enjoyed, especially if it’s mine (you can click on the picture to find out more about this one!), please do leave a review wherever you bought it, and on Goodreads (I have over six times more reviews there than on Amazon – the latest is below), and if you could spare the time to drop the author an email, it really would mean the world to them.

My latest review on Goodreads (as of 8th October)…

“31 days – 31 dates truly sounds exhausting, confusing and exhilarating at the same time. “The Serial Dater’s Shopping List” was a great, lighthearted summer time read. Having done my fair share on online dating I thought I would truly enjoy this book and I was right. Some of Izzy’s dates reminded me of my own which had me laughing and all of her dates had me reconsidering doing online dating again.

I do have to admit that the ending was a little frustrating for me. I felt like while some things were resolved there needed to be a little more context there before ending the story. Too much is left up to the reader’s imagination, which while some like that I do not. In addition, I knew before starting this book that it was a UK title and therefore would reference many British things. However, I was not expecting to be so confused at times but the slang terms Izzy used. All in all though I truly enjoyed this book. Not something that kept me up at night wanting me to read, but it was enjoyable. I received my copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.” Thank you, Tiffany!

Six pm Short Story review no.3 – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water (see Monday’s review) then the middle story: The Rocking Chair (or rather The Rocking-Chair to give its official title) yesterday.

The title story stars with.the first-person narrator and we soon learn she is a tortured soul and how no one around her believes there’s anything wrong. I love inanimate characters and it’s fascinating how much  influence a house has on her.

With her husband away much of the time, the narrator keeps herself to the top-floor nursery, which though light and airy, she finds creepy, as would the reader. The views from the house are so inviting yet she doesn’t leave, nor does her husband want her to do so.

Strip away the flowery writing (and proliferation of exclamation marks) and you have a great story. It could have done with a good edit including the correction of any more to anymore when relating to time rather than quantity. Also, had I been the original editor, I would have suggested name changes as there are only five names mentioned and four of those begin with J: John, Julia, Jennie and Jane. The narrator isn’t mentioned, the other is Cousin Henry.

So for the story: an okay read rated 3/5. And the collection as a whole? Strange. I love strange but this was hard work strange. Interesting reading but not enough to bond me to the author, which is a shame. So an overal 2/5.